Warrior Run wrestlers fall to Mifflinburg

MIFFLINBURG — Ty­ler Burns is starting to put everything together as a wrestler. He’s starting to understand the sport more as a third-year member of Mifflinburg’s program. He’s also combining it with his jiu-jitsu background to combine the two and be­come a more dangerous competitor.

He put that on display Tuesday night when the sophomore scored a fall at 160 pounds for the Wild­cats despite trailing by 10 points. That swing in points helped Mifflinburg avenge a month-old loss to Warrior Run, 33-32, at the Mifflinburg Intermediate School. The Wildcats lost to Warrior Run, 40-3, in their first meeting this year at the Bob Rohm Duals just after Christ­mas.

Warrior Run had a chance to tie or win the match outright in the final bout, but freshman Noah Hunt, who wrestled brilliantly and aggressively, was held to a decision victory. He would have needed a technical fall or a fall to give the Defenders the win because Mifflinburg would have won a tied match on Criteria D, the most matches won.

For Warrior Run, it was its second consecutive match decided in the final bout. It lost to Lewisburg on Satur­day, 33-32, after leading the Green Dragons 29-0.

“It’s frustrating, but it is what it is,” Warrior Run head coach Jeremy Betz said. “The kids put forth the effort, and when we get all our guys back, if we put forth that kind of effort, I think we’re going to be a dangerous team to come against because the kids are giving us six minutes of fight. That’s all we can ask for.”

Warrior Run again wrestled without heavyweight Hunter Bohannon who was injured in a match against Benton a week ago. Bohannon is 3-0 in his career against Mifflinburg heavyweight Sam Rishel, who received a forfeit at 285 pounds.

Mifflinburg won despite giving up two forfeits. The Wildcats were put in a 17-0 hole to start the match because of those two forfeits and a double forfeit at 126 pounds. Warrior Run’s Jeremy Hanford earned a technical fall at 132 pounds, bumping up a weight class, but Kenny Shirk did a tremendous job of fighting off his back multiple times to prevent giving up the fall. The point he saved for Mifflinburg turned out to be crucial.

“With our senior speeches before the match, one of the things we said about Kenny is he fights every match,” Mifflinburg head coach Derek Reber said. “He won’t give up the pin. Supposedly he screwed up his wrist pretty bad tonight and he still didn’t give up the pin. He’s a fighter.”

It was a small moment in the match which proved to be monumental. As was Tyler Stolzfus hanging on in the closing seconds at 170 pounds to avoid giving up a takedown to the Defenders’ Pacey Howard which would have tied the bout, sending it to overtime. And those little moments added up in a match decided by one point.

But they didn’t have quite the impact Burns did with his fall at 160 pounds. Burns gave up a four-point move in the first period, but got two back with a reversal. Burns gave up eight more points in the second period on a takedown and two sets of back points from a half nelson by Warrior Run’s Alex Brouse.

On the second set of back points, though, Burns used that jiu-jitsu background to find the leverage to flip Brouse on his back and scramble his way on top. Burns scored the fall in 5:04, giving Mifflinburg its first lead of the match, 21-17, and creating momentum through the upper weights.

“We can never count him out of a match because has a big jiu-jitsu background. So he likes going to his back and hitting the elevators and the headlocks and things like that,” Reber said. “He catches a lot of kids. He’s a third-year wrestler and he’s starting to learn wrestling better and use his jiu-jitsu, so it’s helping him out a lot.”

“It’s the beauty of the sport of wrestling,” Betz said. “Sometimes you’re up and you get hit in something and pinned. Our kids responded well and battled back from that. That’s a positive sign to see from the kids.”

Christian Wachter and Jorge Guillen picked up must-have falls for the Defenders at 182 and 220 pounds, and Wyatt Fisher minimized the damage at 195 giving up only a decision to Luke Walter.

Rishel’s forfeit win at 285 gave Mifflinburg a 33-29 lead heading into the final bout between Hunt and Underhill, wrestlers with 28 combined wins between them.

Hunt scored a takedown in the first period and a reversal in the second to take a 4-0 lead. He added another takedown midway through the third period for a 6-0 lead. But as he sunk a deep half nelson in on Underhill, the Mifflin­burg sophomore refused to be turned. Hunt picked up his 19th win, 7-2, but it wasn’t enough for the Defenders.

Warrior Run (14-6) holds the 11th seed right now in the District 4 Class AA Duals standings with one match left before the cutoff date on Saturday. Mifflinburg (13-5) moved into the 10th seed with last night’s win and doesn’t have any matches left before Saturday’s cutoff.

“This is definitely huge for us,” Reber said. “My guys are wrestling tough right now even with giving up two or three forfeits like that.”

“You play the hand you’re dealt. I know other teams are in the same boat. Mifflinburg has some guys banged up,” Betz said. “You have to do what you can to try to win matches. You’re struggling so you stay up at night trying to create different matchups. You end up with a one-point match like this. But ultimately we look at the effort the kids put forth and we look at the Lewisburg match, and man did they perform well for us. Tonight we had just a few hiccups. But I don’t think it was in effort, I think it was in positioning and not handling the position right.”

113: Keefer Goodspeed, WR, won by forfeit. 120: Trey Heiss, WR, won by forfeit. 126: Double forfeit. 132: Jeremy Hanford, WR, tech. fall Kenny Shirk, 23-4, 5:18. 138: Trevor Bingaman, M, pinned Dylan Kolenda, 1:06. 145: Owen Walter, M, dec. Brandon Orwig, 6-2. 152: Eric Gessner, M, pinned Dakota Baker, :19. 160: Tyler Burns, M, pinned Alex Brouse, 3:33. 170: Tyler Stolzfus, M, dec. Pacey Howard, 3-1. 182: Christian Wachter, WR, pinned Kyle Gessner, 5:04. 195: Luke Walter, M, dec. Wyatt Fisher, 7-0. 220: Jorge Guillen, WR, pinned Bryce Koonsman, 2:43. 285: Sam Rishel, M, won by forfeit. 106: Noah Hunt, WR, dec. Caleb Underhill, 7-2.

Takedowns: Warrior Run 14, Mifflinburg 7.

Records: Warrior Run (14-6); Mifflinburg (13-5).